John Hutchinson

What are you waiting for?

royal visit
Solomon Islands: A local waits to greet Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as they visit Tuvanipupu Island on their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East representing the Queen on September 17, 2012 in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island.
(Photo Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)

How do you wait fifteen hours on the phone to confirm a plane flight? Someone did.

Waiting can be a pain — particularly when the recording says over and over, ‘Your call is important to us - all our operators are busy— please hold.’

What about those waiting in jail? — doing 20 or thirty years!!

Imagine the anxiety of waiting in cramped positions in total darkness like trapped miners!

I remember waiting for trains - scanning the distance for smoke. What a relief when a big locomotive steamed in — hours late - with its carriages of red dusted sheep from the north. We’d then drive them from Victor Harbor to the hills at Inman Valley — a long but pleasant walk for me.

Some say, ‘good things come to those who wait’ — but not always.

I knew a guy — a bit of a battler - who was very keen on a girl who worked in a hotel — but to his frustration she wasn’t quite as keen on him. One New Year’s eve, he asked to see her. She said, ‘But I won’t finish work until 3:30 am.’

‘That’s OK,’ he said, ‘I’ll wait.’

I knew a man who loved making people wait. He delayed answering the phone, paying his bills or arriving to meet someone. But, he, himself, wouldn’t wait a second for others.


We seem to be moving in the direction of the instantaneous. Information flicks onto our computer screens at the touch of a key. Washing machines, clothes driers, multi-lane highways, fast cars, ATM’s and other modern advances have reduced waiting times.

There is, however, value in waiting. It connects us to that wonderful virtue called patience. A wise writer of old said, ‘The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.’ Ecclesiastes 7:8

There’s something exciting about expectation — be it a rescue or a promised gift — or even the unwrapping of a parcel. Waiting enlivens anticipation.

Character connects with waiting. There are many professions which require experience and sound judgment. It’s good for young people to do a time of probation before driving cars in their own right or taking on other responsibilities.

Having to wait slows us down — gives us times to think.

Smart people

Smart people wait. It’s all too easy to unravel at the seams through snap decisions. Impulsive and emotional responses can do us in.

Something my father would say, ‘Wait for the cloud to lift.’

It’s good advice. When things are foggy - delay the decision. ‘Cooling off’ periods allow us further grace - to be sure we’re doing the right thing.

Wait for awhile before giving someone ‘a piece of your mind.’ A wise cleric once said, ‘Never write an angry letter.’

Also wait for others to cool down. Intercepting someone when they’re in the peak of rage can be a bit like trying to part fighting dogs.

Sometimes we’re told, ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.’ That’s all well and good for things which need doing. But, the opposite applies to decision making. Don’t decide today if it can wait until tomorrow. By then you may be thinking more clearly.


Before he could marry his girlfriend Jacob was made to wait seven years. The Israelites waited forty years before they entered the land of promise. Samson had to wait for his hair to grow before he could avenge his enemies.

In the New Testament we read of an invalid of thirty eight years who waited near a pool. He hoped, along with lots of others, for the water to suddenly stir up. The first person in would heal. Because of his disability he couldn’t make it.

The record says, ‘When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

“Sir,” the invalid replied, "”I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your stretcher and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his stretcher and walked.’

Jesus eliminates waiting. God’s acceptance and forgiveness is instant for those who repent and believe. ‘Today is the day of salvation,’ says the Bible. ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ Luke 14:17

What are you waiting for

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